Category Archives: LGBTQ Issues

Why learning about gender diversity is urgent

To avoid bigotry and discrimination, we must learn about the broad human spectrum of gender-diverse experiences, now and in the past

By Chrissy Stroop.  Published 12-23-2021 by openDemocracy

Imae: Sonzal Welfare Trust/Facebook

This week, openDemocracy published a story about Indian-administered Kashmir’s transgender community. The article focused on the longstanding cultural role that transfeminine Kashmiris have played (and still play) as matchmakers and wedding performers, as well as on the bullying and marginalisation that they experience, in most cases beginning with their own families.

The article ends on a note of hope, observing that living as their authentic selves outside a performance context is becoming a realistic option for some young transwomen, and quoting an Islamic cleric who is opposed to anti-trans discrimination. Continue reading

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Civil Rights Groups Denounce ‘Unlawful’ Book-Banning Effort by Texas GOP

“We will not stand by and watch politicians play games with the education and well-being of our children.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-23-2021 by Common Dreams.

Two prominent national civil rights groups on Tuesday blasted efforts by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and state Rep. Matt Krause—both Republicans—to compel school districts to censor hundreds of books, including many popular LGBTQ+, reproductive rights, and racial justice titles, following the passage of laws prohibiting the teaching of the racist history of the United States and banning transgender athletes from interscholastic athletics.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. issued a statement condemning “Texas politicians’ efforts to force schools to begin pulling books from their classrooms and libraries shelves under the guise of state law.” Continue reading

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Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

“Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-18-2021

The Women’s March on Washington in 2017. Photo: Mobilus In Mobili/flickr/CC

Advocates for reproductive freedom and LGTBQ+ equality on Saturday pointed to a legal brief filed in a U.S. Supreme Court case that could soon overturn Roe v. Wade as a crucial example of the broader goals of those fighting to end abortion rights across the United States.

“It’s never just been about fetuses. It’s about controlling sex,” tweeted Muhlenberg College assistant professor Jacqueline Antonovich, a historian of health and medicine. Continue reading

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‘Dismaying’: Human Rights Groups Blast Biden Plan to OK Millions in Military Aid for Egypt

A coalition of 18 organizations called the administration’s decision “a terrible blow to its stated commitment to human rights and to the rule of law.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-14-2021

Members of the women-led peace group CodePink, including co-founder Medea Benjamin (center), protest against Egyptian human rights abuses in this undated photo. Photo: CodePink

Left-leaning Democratic lawmakers joined human rights groups Tuesday in decrying the Biden administration’s reported decision to withhold a small portion of the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Egypt over human rights crimes perpetrated by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity—the administration’s decision had not yet been announced—told multiple media outlets Tuesday that of the $300 million in military aid to Egypt that is subject to human rights conditions, $170 million will be initially authorized. Continue reading

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Creative Associates International (CAI): It’s Not Exactly the CIA, But Close Enough

While mercenary armies like Blackwater have at least been subject to inquiry, making the company’s name infamous around the world, Creative Associates International has largely flown under the radar — exactly where the organization’s board wants it to be.

By Alan Macleod   Published 8-13-2021 by MintPress News

Graphic by Antonio Cabrera

You have likely not heard of them, but Creative Associates International (CAI) is one of the largest and most powerful non-governmental organizations operating anywhere in the world. A pillar of soft U.S. power, the group has been an architect in privatizing the Iraqi education system, designed messenger apps meant to overthrow the government of Cuba, served as a front group for the infamous Blackwater mercenary force (now rebranded as Academi), and liaised with Contra death squads in Nicaragua. As such, it has functioned as “both as an instrument of foreign policy and as a manifestation of a broader imperial project,” in the words of Professor Kenneth Saltman of the University of Illinois, Chicago. Continue reading

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‘Counseling Not Criminalization’ Bill Unveiled to Boot Police From US Schools

“For too long our education system has been intertwined with the criminal legal system and the results have been tragic.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Publlished 6-18-2021

Los Angeles School Police car. Photo: Chris Yarzab/flickr/CC

Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Sen. Chris Murphy on Thursday announced reintroduced legislation to direct budget resources away from police presence in public schools and instead toward providing students with “trauma-informed services”—an approach the lawmakers say will put student well-being over criminalization.

The bicameral legislation, entitled the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act, is co-led by by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and came amid growing calls to overhaul policing in the nation. Continue reading

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‘Major Political Crisis’ in Brazil as Military Chiefs Quit Amid Bolsonaro Purge of Top Ministers

A leading opposition figure said the country “can’t overcome” Covid-19 with Bolsonaro, because “he is the crisis incarnate.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-30-2021

Brazil’s political stability was in doubt Tuesday after the heads of all three military branches resigned following President Jair Bolsonaro’s dismissal of his defense minister, one of six Cabinet officials who have recently left or been forced out of an administration whose popularity has plummeted amid soaring Covid-19 deaths in South America’s largest nation.

Folha de São Paulo reports Gen. Edson Leal Pujol, Adm. Ilques Barbosa, and Lt.-Brig. Antônio Carlos Bermudez—respectively commanders of the army, navy, and air force—resigned a day after Bolsonaro fired Defense Minister Gen. Fernando Azevedo e Silva. Continue reading

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Netanyahu vs not Netanyahu: Israel’s absurd election fiasco

The country’s leaders talk of Jerusalem as an ‘undivided capital’ Yet, half of the population is denied the right to vote

By Jalal Abukhater  Published 3-24-2021 by openDEmocracy

Photo: George Roussos/Twitter

Another general election just concluded in Israel, the fourth in two years. Beyond the clichés of ‘Groundhog Day’ or ‘election fatigue’ affecting the turnout, not many are actually talking about the utter absurdity of the whole thing.

The major election, held on 23 March 2021, which directly impacts nearly 14 million people living between the ‘river and the sea’, where over a third are denied voting rights, comes down to whether or not one man gets to remain as prime minister. Continue reading

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Warning Fundamental Rights and American Lives at Stake, 5,000+ Lawyers Urge Senate to Reject Barrett

“Rushing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett will cause irreparable damage to the public’s faith in the Supreme Court, the rule of law, and our democracy.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-9-2020

Photo:massmatt/flickr/CC

Ahead of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled to start Monday, more than 5,000 lawyers issued an open letter Friday urging senators to “defend the lives and fundamental rights of all Americans” by refusing to confirm President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Congressional leaders and the White House have been locked in a political battle over the high court’s empty seat since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg  in September. Rights advocates have raised alarm about Barrett’s “extreme ideology”—as the lawyers put it—since even before Trump officially announced her nomination. Continue reading

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‘This Is Deadly’: Trump HHS Scraps Protections for Transgender Patients and Those Seeking Abortions

“The Trump administration has made a mission out of putting politicians and religious beliefs above a patient’s healthcare.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2020

LGBTQ Americans and allies rallied outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s effort to ban trans people from military service. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)

In a move widely decried by LGBTQ, reproductive, and human rights advocates, the Trump administration late Friday finalized a healthcare rule that revokes Obama-era nondiscrimination protections for transgender and nonbinary people, patients seeking abortions, and those who do not speak English.

“This is deadly and all of us should be outraged,” declared ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling. “This is beyond heartless.” Continue reading

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